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Ancient Vietnamese drum found in Timor Leste

Released at: 18:30, 04/12/2015

Ancient Vietnamese drum found in Timor Leste

Dong Son kettledrum made 2,000 years ago indicates Vietnamese traveled the region in distant past.

by Son Ho

A traditional Vietnamese object - a Dong Son kettledrum - has been found in Timor Leste, some 3,000 km from where it was made. The find suggests that thousands of years ago Vietnamese people crossed the sea to different places around Asia.

The drum has a diameter of 1.03 meters, stands 78 centimeters high, and weighs 80 kilograms. It was found in a construction site near Baucau, the second largest city in Timor Leste, at the end of last year. The find was only officially announced at the end of November, however, after researchers and experts had finished their evaluations.

On the surface of the drum are four toad statues in the four corners and a 12-sided star in the center. Because its restoration was done in a short period, many motifs on the surface as well as the body are yet to be identified.

According to Dr. Nuno Vasco Oliveira, Advisor of the Committee of Art and Culture of the Timor Leste Government, it is almost 100 per cent certain that this is a Dong Son kettledrum and made between 700 BC to 100 BC.

This is not the first time a Dong Son kettledrum has been found in the region. Two others were unearthed previously but their surfaces were badly damaged. This most recent find has been well-preserved. The fact the item was found confirms the appearance of Vietnamese in the region and the Dong Son culture.

The Dong Son kettledrum is a symbol of the Dong Son culture of ancient Vietnam. It has a significant size and a balanced shape. The sophisticated patterns depict the daily life of people during the period and also show the artistic skills of the sculptors.


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